11-Year-Old Kyle Plott Stars in Summer Shootout
While many of his peers are enjoying the lazy days of summer, 11-year-old Kyle Plott has his nose to the grindstone in an effort to add a prestigious Summer Shootout championship to his racing résumé.
And Plott's hard work is paying dividends. The youngster won five Fisher-Price Bandolero Bandits features during the first two months of the 10-race series at Lowe's Motor Speedway and is in contention to claim the division title.
Plott and his parents, Alan and Donna, make the nearly 10-hour roundtrip each week from their home near Marietta, Ga., in order to practice on Monday nights and race on Tuesday nights. Plott is also a championship contender in the Thursday Thunder series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"I moved from quarter-midgets to the Bandoleros last year, but we were more focused on Atlanta and we won the championship there," said Plott, who has been driving race cars since he was 6. "But this year, we're focused on winning both championships."
With Kyle excelling on the race track, the toughest part of winning the Summer Shootout championship may be the juggling act Alan Plott performs between his business, FRS Contracting Inc., and his son's racing endeavors.
"The worst part is driving home on Tuesday nights because I have to be back at work Wednesday morning and try to stay on top of things there,"
said Alan Plott. "I miss half a day on Mondays and a whole day on Tuesdays and when we're at the track I'm constantly on the phone with work."
Like other kids his age, Plott enjoys a variety of sports but racing is his passion. "I like baseball, football, basketball and swimming, but I really enjoy racing because I get to figure out how to make the car fast, and then I get to go fast," he said. "I get to race with my friends and I try to win all the time."
While Plott hopes his driving ability and winning attitude eventually take him to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing, he has other goals as well.
"Getting to NASCAR is my primary goal, but I also need to do well in school and get a college education," Plott said.
In that connection, Plott's parents work diligently to ensure racing doesn't interfere with their son's schoolwork.
"I have to do summer homework on the ride up here each week," Plott said. "So my mom and I made a deal that if I get all of my multiplication facts right in a certain amount of time, then I get to do whatever I want for the last hour of the ride."
The Plotts knew very little about racing until they were introduced to the sport by former Summer Shootout competitor Kyle Fowler and his father, Mike.
"We went to watch Kyle race and he let me sit in his car," Kyle Plott recalled. "Then we got started into it from there."
"I did a little bit of drag racing when I was younger, but I've gotten a lot of help from Mike Fowler, especially on set-ups, because I didn't know anything about these cars," said Alan Plott.
Plott's No. 99 stands out among the other Bandoleros because it carries sponsorship from a major retailer, Aaron's, and is known as the Aaron's Dream Machine. The sponsorship came about thanks to an aunt who works for the company.
"We're in the beginning stages of the sponsorship," said Alan Plott. "We got the car painted and lettered last fall and we've got another car that will have their new logo on it."
"They help us a lot," Kyle added. Although Kyle is quick to credit others for much of his racing success, those around him say the youngster also deserves recognition because, while he still enjoys being a kid, he understands racing includes responsibilities far beyond those of a normal 11 year old.
"He still gets to be a kid, but he has to work hard," said Donna Plott. "He's not like a typical kid who gets to go play all the time, he's a working boy."
The 14th annual Summer Shootout runs each Tuesday night through Aug. 7. The series features three classes of Bandolero racing, four divisions of Legends Cars and the Thunder Roadsters.
Admission is just $7 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free. Tickets are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free.
Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:30 p.m. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. For information, call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.